At a meeting recently, someone mentioned that they have a 35 minute commute to work. Several people reacted as if they had been told that person flies in from Mars every day. Well if you think 35 minutes is too long, how about six hours- daily?? Hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers in China spend an average of six hours – and sometimes up to nine hours or more – travelling to and from Beijing to work each day, according to the BBC.
The capital’s skyrocketing property market is pricing young workers out of the city and into outlying suburbs. The Global Cities Business Alliance says Beijing is the world’s most expensive city for renters, with average prices 1.2 times higher than average salaries. Prices are also up for people wanting to buy homes. In the twelve months to September last year, property prices rose by 28%.
Because the majority of people can’t afford a home in Beijing, many live on the outskirts in ‘sleeper’ cities – named because workers travel there just to sleep where property is more affordable.